Student Internship Opportunity: The Seas of Knowledge Data Recovery Project at the National Archives Innovation Hub

Posted: July 26, 2019 by saacua in Jobs, News

Nearly everything we know about the world ocean prior to the satellite era can be linked to a single document type: the ship’s logbook. Related primary documents, including muster rolls, field note books, photographs and artwork, often depend on this link for context and interpretation. The Seas of Knowledge project is focused on historical data recovery from the logbooks and muster rolls of U.S. naval vessels during the Civil War and Reconstruction era, located at the National Archives. In addition to creating high-resolution digital analogs of unique historical documents of national significance, we recover geospatial reference, weather and ocean data, and other historical information through Old Weather, our citizen-science program. Images and data will be integrated into existing national and international data infrastructure. Large-scale manuscript-to-digital data conversion has great potential to foster new scientific and historical understanding and provides enhanced access to our shared maritime and cultural heritage. See: https://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/nr18-24

Since 2011, data recovery and reanalysis has been pursued though a collaboration between the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO) at the University of Washington, NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the National Archives Foundation, and other collaborating institutions. The National Archives Foundation supports the education and outreach aims of the National Archives to make federal records accessible so that anyone can explore, discover, and learn from historical documents that have been preserved for generations. It supports the earth systems research community by providing fundamental data that are not otherwise available to science and will lead to deeper understanding of the physics of the atmosphere and ocean. It will also foster new research in history and social sciences by making information globally available as digital analogs and in machine-readable formats necessary for advanced computer analysis. Working together these institutions create opportunities for new scholarship in science and the humanities.

Student-interns are trained to operate high-resolution digital imaging equipment located in the National Archives Innovation Hub. They learn about archives operations, document handling and preservation, metadata creation, and the technical details underlying the digitization of cultural heritage materials. Student-interns may also assist in education and outreach activities led by the National Archives Foundation, including the creation of educational content for the National Archives DOCSTeach program, and other activities that may take place in the Innovations Center such as public scan-a-thons, for example. The educational opportunity of this internship is exceptional for students interested in gaining experience and training in the fields of cultural heritage digitization, digital innovation and crowdsourcing, and public outreach.

During the academic year, the internship will be a time commitment of around 20 hours per week, and interns are provided a monthly stipend of $1,260.  If students are not engaged in full-time study over the summer, and if both the JISAO Principal Investigator and the student agree to beforehand, the time commitment can be increased to up to 40 hours per week—with a commensurate increase in the monthly stipend.  All student interns on this program must be U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents.

Seas of Knowledge is supported by a grant to the University of Washington from the Council on Library and Information Resources and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Interested students should contact Christiana Perry (onionpatch534@gmail.com) for an application.

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